An Enjoyable Challenge

reprinted from: HOY CHICAGO ,  Monday, November 29, 2010

The challenge of finding the best move is what motivates Mark Jungo, a 7th grade student, to search for more and better strategies when he plays chess. The same interest is shared by Nathan Guadarrama, age 5, and Elisa Blancas, 91.

All three competed in last Saturday’s Latino Chess Championship, organized by the Rudy Lozano Branch Library, 1805 S. Loomis St., in the Pilsen community.

All 55 participants showed up at the library with pencil and paper to record the moves of their games. They came from a number of primary and secondary schools, from the city as well as the suburbs.

Latinos, African-American, Caucasian, children, young adults, men and women, challenged, thought and calculated the moves of their chess pieces for about seven hours.

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Schmakel Becomes Two-Time National Champ

Sam Schmakel and Dmitry Gurevich, 2010 Sam Schmakel and Dmitry Gurevich, 2003

Presents arrived early for a slew of Illinois chess players who were in Orlando earlier this month for the National All Grade tournament, in the form of big shiny trophies for some great performances. Leading the Illinois pack was Whitney Young freshman Sam Schmakel, whose superior tiebreaks in a 6-way tie for first in the ninth grade section earned him a second national championship title with 5.5/7 points. His first title was as a 2nd-grader back in 2003.

Other Illinois Players Also Excel

Also turning in stellar results were Burr Ridge fourth-grader Matthew Stevens and Lincolnshire fifth-grader Alex Bian, both of whom tied for second place at their grade levels with six points each.

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Many State All-Grade Champs Head to Nationals

More than 500 players attended last month's state All-Grade championshiop at Whitney Young High School in Chicago, co-organized by Chess Education Partners, Whitney Young High School and the Youth Chess Fondation of Chicago.  This included 100 low-income students, many of whom were playing in their first tournament, who received free entry. 

The tournament had 13 sections, one each for grades kindergarten through 12.  A list of the winners follows.  Congratulations to all:

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IESA Launching Major Middle School Chess Event in February

The Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) is launching what organizers believe will become a fixture on the Illinois youth chess calendar: an annual individual/team championship in "Board Swiss" format for middle school students in grades 5-8.  The tournament, to be held February 18-19, 2011 in Bloomington, is the middle-school counterpart of the successful Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Team Chess Championship, attended annually by more than 1,000 students.

IESA has 773 member schools from throughout Illinois covering grades 5-8.  Its Board of Directors added chess to their roster of athletics and activities in the summer of 2009.  Since then, planning for the event has been the work of an Advisory Committee that includes Mike Zacate (USCF National Tournament director and instrumental in starting and continuing the Illinois High School Team Chess Tournament) and Garrett Scott (prominent in central Illinois scholastic chess for decades).  The committee is led by IESA'S Associate Executive Director, Nicole Schaefbauer, who is in charge of the tournament.

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Illinois Players Shine in New Jersey

Akhil Kalghatgi, Jonathan Tan, Ranadheer Tripuraneni and Nikhil Kalghatgi show off their trophies.Congratulations to four young players representing Chess Without Borders, who made a splash in New Jersey this weekend at the National Youth Action tournament, winning first place in K6 Blitz, and sixth place in the K6 main event.

Fourth-graders Akhil and Nikhil Kalghatgi and Jonathan Tan, and third-grader Ranadheer Tripuraneni made up the team. Chess Without Borders is the charitable arm of the Yury Shulman International Chess School in Barrington, which combines community service and philanthropic efforts with chess education.

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